One of the most iconic race cars in Audi’s history was actually part of the Auto Union, back when Audi was just one of the four brands making up the German conglomerate. It was the 1939 Auto Union Type D racer and it seemed like it was from another world at the time. In this video, we get to see Pink Floyd Drummer Nick Mason, of all people, driving the Type D at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
The Auto Union Type D racer is an incredible car with a fascinating history. It was developed just before World War II and after the war ended, the Auto Union’s cars and factories were taken by Russia, stripped down and used for research. So most of the Auto Union’s cars were lost to history. A few Type Ds made it out alive, however, and this one was on display in Goodwood.
Powered by a 3.0 liter twin-supercharged V12 engine, the Auto Union Type D “Dopple Kompressor” (Double Supercharger) made 435 horsepower, which in 1939 was the equivalent of a million horsepower today. It was also capable of a mind-melting 205 mph. It’s hard for modern road cars now to break 200 mph and it was done by the Type D 81 years ago.
In this video, we get to see Nick Mason take the Auto Union Type D through Goodwood’s historic track and what a treat that must have been. The car sounds incredible and looks like an Art Deco spaceship. It’s also really funny to see how close to the steering wheel Mason has to sit and how wide his arms flail as he turns the wheel. Driving the Type D at 205 mph must have been damn near impossible, sitting like that.
Audi isn’t well know for its racing history at the time, or really from any time before the Ur Quattro hit the scene in the ’80s. However, the Auto Union Type D was one of the most astonishing cars of the time and it’s still impressive today. Check it out.